The Zika Virus—Update
Two weeks ago, we wrote an article about the new-found Zika virus, and how it can potentially affect the United States. Late last week, we shared an article with you about the first confirmed case of the Zika virus in New Jersey, from a woman who was visiting from Columbia. New information regarding the Zika virus has emerged, and we feel as though our customers and friends should know everything we know about the Zika virus to date. While new information is sure to come out within the next week, the following is what we know of right now.
The Zika virus cannot be transmitted via air. The Zika virus is what is known as a flavivirus, which cannot be transmitted through the air. Right now, we know that Zika is transmitted from person to person via mosquito bites, but there is speculation on whether or not it can be transmitted sexually. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports 2 cases in which the disease was transmitted sexually, and they are conducting further investigation on the matter.
Zika is only carried by certain type of mosquitoes. It is known that the Zika virus can only be transmitted by mosquitoes in the aedes genus. The aedes genus contains a few different species of mosquitoes, and they generally thrive in warmer climates. Typically, we don’t see the aedes genus of mosquitoes in New Jersey, but the El Nino phenomenon will most likely push the aedes mosquitoes into our region come spring.
Treatments are being developed. The CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) are both working to develop drugs and treatments to both combat and prevent the disease. Right now, there is no cure or preventative measure to the virus, and it can take years for a vaccine to be approved. The WHO is considering authorizing an experiment in which they will study people who took an anti-mosquito drug, that would kill a mosquito once it bites; effectively stopping transmission.
Zika could be declared a global health concern. The WHO will be holding an emergency meeting later today to discuss how to fight Zika, and whether or not they would label the virus as a public health emergency—something they have only done 3 times before. If they declare Zika a public health emergency, then it will become a global effort to find both a cure and preventive measures for the disease.
More information is sure to come out over time regarding the Zika virus, and when it does we will be sure to let you know. For now, we can only advise our friends and family to not travel to any countries where the virus is wide-spread. In the meantime, we will be gearing up to take the aedes mosquitoes head on this spring.